Jean Paul Gaultier @ Barbican Gallery

Apart from having lunch at their Foodhall, the purpose of our visit to the Barbican was to see the exhibition “The Fashion World Of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk”…

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The show was conceived by the Montreal Museum of Fine Art which also owned most of the frocks on the display. The first exhibition was premiered in 2011 at Montreal…

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I was very much intrigued by the show because my dear friend, Letizia, who saw the same exhibition at San Francisco last year, was raving how amazing the whole experience was.

As I approached a row of mannequins on the pedestal which were clad with iconic garments by Monsieur Gaultier, their faces lit up and started to greet me by winking or smiling or even chatting! How remarkable!! This bewitching experience was created by the overhead projectors, which incorporated motion sensors, shone moving images on the mannequins’ faces.

Jean Paul Gaultier greets each visitor with his personal welcome…

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The experience was rather unsettling at first because the effect was so convincing and made the mannequins so lifelike…

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The exhibition showcased Mr.Gaultier’s creations from the early 70s to the present day…

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There were so many collections I admired but the one I loved the most was his punk themed collections…

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I was especially besotted with the detailing of this artificial fur skirt. The monsieur cleverly utilised the texture of the fleece to mimic air-brush like effect…

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There was also a “camouflage” dress…

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and a cape made with the same detailing of a MA1 flight jacket…

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Another of Mr.Gaultier’s take on the punk was an haute couture dress with “Whirl of legs” lining…

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The couturier has dressed many celebrities during his long career but the most famous one has to be Madonna. The corset with the infamous cone bra she wormed during her Blonde Ambition tour earned its wearer as well as dresser a significant amount of media exposure in the early 90s. The actual article was on the display together with the costumes of his another pop star client, Kylie Minogue…

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Nowadays, there seems to be blurred definition between what is underwear and what is not. However, it was sensational in the late 80s when Madonna debuted a Gaultier’s pink satin bodysuit. Now, the original garment appeared a little tired and even humble amongst the more opulent frocks. Yet, the item carried certain cultural significance on its slight shoulder straps.

The images below are what caught my eyes at the exhibition.

A black dress with an angel bodice…

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A dress with graphic insets…

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Digital printed insets made the frock strangely alluring…

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Complicated details around the hip of a Japanese kimono fabric inspired dress…

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A crocheted dress with structured shoulders…

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A cage like construction holds up the garment…

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A feather dress with the subtle nuance of the 30’s…

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A fur headdress inspired by the Eskimo…

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The Mongolian nomad?…

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Oversize hair accessory…

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A spectacular “Parrot” dress…

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A knitted dress with a giant face…

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The dress which is there but “barely” there…

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A man with a feathered bodice…

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A fez hat with eyelash…

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Hubbie & I both heartily agreed that we enjoyed the show enormously.
Gaultier’s intricate and sensual yet lighthearted and witty creations were entertaining and inspirational…

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This highly recommendable exhibition will be on until the 25th of August. Don’t miss out if you are around, or you will regret it forever…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Isabella Blow @ Somerset House

Hubbie is singing non-stop and giving me a headache. I don’t want to hurt his feeling so keep my mouth shut. But he is so out of tune. Please HELP!

Belatedly, I visited a highly acclaimed exhibition dedicated to late Isabella Blow at Somerset House on Strand last Wednesday.
I meant to see it sooner but the trip to Japan and the colds I had after that held me back. Since the show would close this weekend, I thought I couldn’t delay any longer, so booked a ticket and off I went.

No more ice rink until next winter. The square looked bare but also it was a definite sign of the approaching spring and it made me happy…

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Photographing was prohibited so there was no image of the inside of the exhibition “Isabella Blow: Fashion Galore!”…

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The first space was filled with old family photographs and newspaper clippings, depicting her early life and a complicated relationship with her aristocratic parents. I did know about her career in fashion but not so much about her private background. Therefore, listening to her, recounting how she was brought up in the shadow of her parents’ manor while longing for the luxury and opulence her pre-war ancestors must have enjoyed, was interesting and poignant. One of the exhibit was her interview film and in the centre of the frame was her family’s history book. From ime to time, her pale hand with a colossal bracelet on its wrist appeared and pointed at certain parts of the photographs, describing how the remnants of the bygone time haunted her and her family. It was the first time I heard about her less than ideal upbringing in her own voice and it endeared her to me. I felt sorry for her.

The rest of the exhibition was simply divine. I feasted my eyes on one-of-a-kind creations by Philip Treacy and Alexander McQueen. The craftsmanship which involved to create them was awe-inspiring and I just couldn’t help ogling every detail from all angles. Materials, applications and executions, everything was exquisite. I understood why Isabella Blow was so taken by it. No offence to Mr.Valentino’s retrospective exhibition at the same venue last year but I was moved by this show more. The world Isabella helped to create with talented British designers was hauntingly beautiful and definitely one-of-a-kind. And I was very grateful to the people, explicitly to Daphne Guinness, who made this exhibition possible. She not only rescued Isabella’s entire collection from being auctioned off and lost forever but also shared it with us, showing the particular luxury and opulence the late Isabella aspired and practiced throughout her life…

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By the way, did you know that I met Isabella Blow in the fresh once? My brief encounter with “The Hat” – apparently the late Princess Margaret nicknamed her as such – was at the Design Museum on Shad Thames. The museum was hosting “When Philip Met Isabella”, a show featuring Mr.Treacy and his famous mentor. As I was at their riverfront cafe and happened to look up from my cup of latte, there she was, Mrs.Blow was standing by the till with an elaborate but not so stupendous headgear, waiting for espresso. I remembered how awkward she looked. While the rest of us clad in jeans and sneakers, she was donning a hat, a pencil skirt and court shoes like a lady out of the thirties’ silver screen.
Without her and her beloved Mr.McQueen, the world had definitely become less beautiful and more mundane and I moaned their absence very very much…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

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